Air crew members can continue to ask for waivers that would allow them to fly while pregnant, under updated guidelines issued by the Air Force. Additionally, air crew members with uncomplicated pregnancies in the second trimester can continue to fly without waiver in non-ejection seat aircraft, as long as they can meet all other safety criteria. The guidelines essentially are unchanged since 2019, but the service is reiterating them in order to push “some authorities down to the lowest level possible,” the service said.
“These changes are a significant step in the right direction to empowering every member of our team to serve to their full potential,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said. “The Department of the Air Force’s most important asset is our people. We are focused on eliminating barriers that hamper the ability to attract and retain the most talented individuals who want to serve.”
Any airman outside of 12 to 28 weeks of pregnancy can ask for a waiver request. So too can those seeking to fly in single-seat, ejection-seat and high-G capable airframes. It is up to the major commander – not medical personnel – to approve such waivers. Decisions will be based on individual flight-safety risk. Obstetrics providers and flight surgeons would provide input. Operational profiles would factor as well. Airmen who receive adverse decisions can write letters of appeal.
“As leaders we trust our aviators to perform operational risk assessments and safely execute the mission every day,” said Gen. CQ Brown Jr., the chief of staff. “Clarifying this policy is about enabling airmen to make an informed, personal decision, and providing support to both the member and the waiver authority.”